Late Breaking News | Chicago Reader

Late Breaking News

According to a recent Chicago Tribune profile, nighthawk video journalist Ken Herzlich can't stand to watch his own horrific footage of the 1993 Paxton Hotel blaze. Jon Knoll, who directed this video portrait of the hardworking freelancer, suffers no such qualms: he opens with tape of some Cottage Grove fire victims plummeting 50 feet from window to sidewalk, running it over and over again. His documentary provides a fascinating overview of Herzlich's operation (which involves a second videographer and a dispatcher) and makes some pertinent points about which murders qualify for TV coverage (west-side drug killings are considered a snooze). But Knoll is too much of a rubbernecker to question the social function of such televised mayhem and too cozy with Herzlich to ask what his footage fetches on the open market. 86 min.


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